Preaching against effeminancy will become a hate crime...

Some of our readers have been confused by my criticism of Christian leaders who call for the repeal of state and federal anti-sodomy laws. They've wondered why such laws are necessary and whether my support for them isn't, deep down, an indication of some basic imbalance in my psyche--maybe even homophobia?

Well, down through the centuries there have been many reasons western societies have banned sodomy. For instance, similar to fornication, adultery, and prostitution, sodomy is a seedbed for disease. And when the diseased continue in their promiscuity, they cause public health disasters.

Nature's God created sexual intimacy in such a way that it rewards lifelong, monogamous, heterosexual unions--and punishes promiscuity of all sorts. No matter how much money is thrown at the problem, there still is no synthetic prophylactic, exercise regimen, vaccination, or pill that will protect the sexually promiscuous from the destruction of their health that nature's God has ordained as the consequence of their sin. Heterosexual monogamy produces life; promiscuity and sodomy produce death.

Until recently, the laws of the western world penalized sexual promiscuity to the end that sexually transmitted diseases would not increase and the deaths such diseases caused would decline. Yet today, when the fatal consequences of sexual promiscuity are more clear than at any time in prior history, the very form of promiscuity with the most direct causal relationship to death has been normalized.

While those infected with AIDS died by the millions around the world, the direct cause of those deaths--sexual, and particularly sodomitic, promiscuity--grew by leaps and bounds. But rather than enforcing the laws already on the books written expressly for the purpose of protecting society against such outbreaks of contagious disease, the western world's civil authorities fell all over one another to repeal those laws.

Sodomy causes AIDS? Well, if we remove the stigma associated with sodomy, maybe it will cause sodomites to take pride in who they are and to act in a more self-interested, enlightened way?

A public health quarantine would only add to the stigma, and sodomites won't stand for the closing down of their bathhouses, so we'll have to find kinder and gentler ways of helping them avoid death.

Religious leaders were eager to demonstrate the same compassion toward AIDS victims that civil authorities had pioneered. Throughout past centuries, Christian pastors had preached the Word of God to those tempted by sexual immorality by calling God's People to holiness, but also by warning the wicked that God would not be mocked, and that whatever a man sowed was also what he would reap. Pastors made the association between sexually transmitted diseases and the death of sinners very clear, pointing out to their congregations and communities that such consequences were God's judgment against sexual perversion.

But in the presence of the most stunning confirmation of such biblical doctrines history has ever provided, Christian pastors today turned in a different direction than their predecessors, releasing statements that reassured millions that AIDS was no judgment of God, or that it was not God's judgment on any particular sexual sin, but only undifferentiated sexual sins. Or better yet, sins in general, as it were.

The work didn't stop there. It wasn't enough for Christian leaders to obscure the relationship between sodomitic promiscuity, death, and judgment. The very nature of the sin practiced by those Scripture labels as the "soft" or "effeminate," and the "male-bedders" (1Corinthians 6:9) must be redefined. And so these leaders began to speak reassuring words to sodomites concerning the nature of their particular temptation. They preached sermons, gave lectures, and wrote books about the tenacity of sexual orientation, about the dignity of every human being, about the extreme difficulty of breaking off from a "homosexual lifestyle," about the distinction between sexual orientation and sexual sin, and so on.

In various ways the main point was hammered home: Christian leaders were sensitive to the oppression of sodomites so characteristic of the church in the past, and they would allow it no more. Like the civil authority, preachers and pastors wanted to be seen as kinder and gentler than their predecessors and were determined to use the considerable power and influence at their disposal to restore dignity to this oppressed people group.

Some would go further than others in this venture, but the basic tools employed included the acceptance of practicing sodomites as members in good standing of our churches with a "Don't ask, don't tell" mode of operation; a defense of monogamous, covenantal same-sex unions as a wise compromise with the full scale promiscuity attended by such grave dangers that otherwise characterized the male sodomite community; the obliteration of language and work that sought to call the soft and effeminate out of their sinful identity to a full-blooded manhood in thought, appearance, and action; and the final elimination of any talk of sodomy being unnatural or perverted, as well as the sense of shame that had been attached to that perversion.

Removing this stigma from the effeminate and male-bedders has been a central plank of evangelical witness to our culture for at least twenty years, now. Thinking ourselves wise, we've become foolish and have been turned into prophets, not of God, but of perversion and perversion's author, Satan himself. Thinking that the Gospel's trump card is a kindler and gentler god, we've turned our back on God's wrath against sin. We've avoided the fear of God, repentance, judgment, and hell. Instead, we've worked hard to woo souls into the Kingdom through preaching God's 'yes' without His 'no." We speak passionately of God's love, Christian love, family love, and sexual love. Listening to us might naturally lead a reasonable soul to conclude that John Lennon was right after all: "all you need is love."

And still, the work isn't done. The project of presenting a kindler and gentler face to the world continues with the next step being the repeal of anti-sodomy laws. Enlightened evangelicals realize the educative value of the law, and that so long as laws against sodomy remain on the books, a certain stigma will attach itself to the effeminate and man-bedders. Simply put, this can't be.

But I get the distinct impression our Christian leaders have no idea what they're doing because they've never stopped to consider what they're undoing. What was the purpose of the anti-sodomy laws of the western world? What motivated them? What effect did they have on public health? Public morals? Prison life? Military life? Prep school life? The whaling industry? The Merchant Marine? Were the laws instrumental to countries being able to maintain fertility levels that guaranteed population replacement? Did they have a salutary impact on rates of violent crime? Rape? Pedophilia? Incest? Pederasty? Divorce? Abandonment? Bestiality?

Concerning the soul, did anti-sodomy laws cause preachers to have greater boldness in opposing sodomy and other sexual sin? Did the public shame attached to this crime discourage men from acting on their temptations? In other words, was being "in the closet" really as bad as the sodomite lobby claims, or was it a blessing from heaven?

And here we get at the nub of the issue: those who seek the repeal of anti-sodomy laws aren't doing so out of a new and enlightened view of the relationship between the church and state, but out of a complete ignorance--maybe even indifference--to the physical and spiritual destruction sodomy and other sexual perversions cause to men and man. Or worse, they have contracted the obscure but spreading disease known as libertarianism, and have lost their confidence in the ability of the civil authority to carry out its divine calling, to "bear the sword" and to bring "wrath on the one who does evil" (Romans 13:3,4).

Ironically, the libertarians are right to point out the power of the law. Remove the salt's saltiness, hide our light under a bushel, and the corruption of the Ancient World will return, as will the persecution of any who dare to speak against it. Praise God, we'll again have men like John the Baptist, Stephen, Peter, Paul, Luther, and Knox who are willing to die for the Gospel.

The power of the state will not diminish; it will simply be turned from punishing evil to punishing good. The same arm that punished the effeminate and man-bedders will turn to its new moral mandate. Now it will use its power to punish those who call the effeminate and man-bedders to flee from the wrath to come.

So who will remain faithful? Will it be those Christian leaders who denied AIDS is God's judgment against sodomy or sexual sin; who carefully distinguished between homosexual orientation and conduct; who promoted monogamous covenantal unions as God's second-best for those of homosexual orientation; who feigned ignorance over the number of men and women in their congregations who were in same-sex romantic and erotic relationships; who stood up publicly calling for the repeal of anti-sodomy laws to the end that society would be less oppressive to these poor victims?

No, not one of these change agents will ever be willing to be a prophet against the sin that he helped society to normalize. Long ago he indicated where his allegiance lay, and it was with the hirelings who fled when the wolf attacked the flock. Under the guise of compassion, he fled, but then had the gall to turn back and prolaim his abandonment as a principle--even a biblical principle. He talked of the nature of the state, of the proper sphere for the church and state together, of the need for tolerance in a diverse and pluralistic society, of the danger of Christians standing against diversity when, increasingly, we were becoming the minority, and so on.

But in the end, all that matters is that we abandoned the sheep to the destroyer of morals and souls. Yes, we had our reasons that we could speak and write about for thousands of pages, but on our watch "effeminacy" and "man-bedding" became sexual "orientation," the statement of God's judgment against sexual perversion and sin became obsolete, and Christian preaching and teaching concerning the nature and meaning of sexuality became a hate crime.

So, we've succeeded in restoring the culture of the Ancient World in our day and time and the question to be asked is whether there is a pastor or elder left who will speak in our day as the Apostle Paul spoke in his?

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1Corinthians 6:9-11)

Comments

I have no doubt preaching against effeminancy will be a hate crime. As you point out, its amazing with diseases like AIDS, we are so willing to stumble over each other to stand for the rights of the homosexual community.

The truth is, the gay community and its supporters are in denial that AIDS is primarily caused by sodomy and those who are gay are at higher risk. My relative who works with AIDS patients, says that nearly 80% of all cases are homosexuals or I.V. drug abusers.

But, supporters of homosexuality refuse to believe this data. Usually, their arguement is to pick out the smaller percentage of cases of heterosexuals who contract it, and use those examples to refute actual medical data.

I don't think enforcing laws or even creating new ones will do much in deterring sodomy. I think the world culture needs an entire remolding back to the basics of decency. The youth of today have sexual immorality shoved into their faces from all forms of media twenty-four hours a day, they don't know anything different. Unfortunately, I feel that it will not get better from this point on, the damage has been done, and yes, we will soon see the day where preachers or anyone for that matter, will be charged with a hate crime by opposing such lewd behavior.

I guess all we can do is trust that Christ has everything in His control, and we must never waiver on preaching the Truth to those who have been deceieved into such lifestyles.

The opening seems to target promiscuity. Being a homosexual male who does not care for such, I consider the idea of a life-long, monogamous relationship to be quite attractive if the right person could be found. This point has little to do with legality, however.

Second, which sodomy is being referred to here? Traditionally, unnatural sex or sodomy includes any sexual activity not open to procreation. Protestants have pulled away from that definition recently. If sodomy means anal sex, then your problem is with a specific sex act rather than homosexuality in general.

I consider the idea that HIV is part of God's judgment to be a bit odd. By that outlook, SIV is punishment on apes and FIV shall teach those deviant cats to behave. A more likely explanation is that a virus has mutated in such a way that allows it to infect a host and spread itself over time. This particular one happens to be very effective at targeting the human immune system and can be readily spread by certain sex acts.

I shall leave the religion to believers, though I will note that the post does not seem to directly address lesbianism.

Along with the anti-sodomy laws under consideration for repeal are those which specifically deal with blood donations by homosexual men. I am a hospital lab tech, and in a recent national lab tech magazine is a news item reporting on a growing movement toward repealing the blood donation prohibitions against homosexual men. If you have donated blood at any time in the last 20 years or so, you have read the regulations and answered the questions which deal with prohibiting homosexual men from donating blood--all because of the high prevalence of HIV in this group. Before this probation was enforced, and before HIV testing became mandatory on all donated blood, many innocent people died from HIV infections contracted from tainted blood. The argument now is that with the never-ending shortage of blood, and with continually improving HIV testing of donated blood, no one should be prevented from donating. "Twentieth century prejudice shouldn't keep us from 21st century health standards," reports the article. "The real public health threat is closing the door on countless numbers of [homosexual] men who selflessly want to donate blood."
Yes, HIV testing is continually improving, but with every incidence of HIV transmission, there is always a "window of time" between the contracting of HIV and the point at which that infection can be detected. With current testing capabilities, that window of time is 16-22 days. What if the current prohibitions are repealed, and HIV-infected persons in this "window of time" donate blood? Their blood will contain HIV and will kill the recipient of that blood. Even with the best tests, there can never be a 100% guarantee that the blood is "clean" and totally free of disease.
All of this is why I encourage Christians who are living lives of Biblical morality to donate blood on a regular basis. *Their* blood is clean.
And let me dispel a recurring myth here: It is impossible to contract any disease from donating blood. Every needle used is new and is then thrown away.

Carol,

I was with you until the end. I wouldn't be so quick as to assume every christian living a biblical life has clean blood.

Hepatitis can be contracted without performing sexually immoral acts. Also, nearly 65% of the U.S. population has been exposed to HSV 1 before the age of 5, simply through a kiss by a parent or grandparent. They in turn can pass it to their future spouse. Although it is primarily transferred through the skin, it can be passed through blood as well.

Finally, I don't know anyone that has lived a biblical life their entire life. It only takes once to catch something.

Re Bill K's last post: "I don't know anyone that has lived a biblical life their entire life." If he means a sinless life, then Amen, he has stated a truism. But in the context it seems to mean that he knows no one who has not committed fornication, adultery, or sodomy. This makes me feel both sad and old. But actually, Bill, yes, there are a few of us here and there.

"No, not one of these change agents will ever be willing to be a prophet against the sin that he helped society to normalize." Two things give me hope that this is not entirely true: one, the ability of Jesus Christ to convict and radically change a man like Paul; and, two, that I, though never any kind of Christian leader, was so convicted and changed. One year I was writing letters publicly defending such normalization; a year later I am a new man in Christ Jesus.

Irational Entity,
The arguement you make is against the sovereignty of God. There is also refusal to acknowledge the fallen nature of man in sin that causes suffering, death and judgement in the first place. Your implication is that somehow, there are things in the universe, nature, that are just "out of God's control." Like "clever" viruses, for instance?
The biblical evidence to God's sovereignty is plentiful (Psalm 103:19,1st Tim 6:15 etc etc etc) as are his judgements on sin. God has used entire nations of peoples to bring about divine judgements on the sins of a people. He has used floods,insects, and yes, even pestilence. Just read the book of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, pslams, jeremiah, Ezekiel, revelation and Jesus' own propesies of pestilence/plague. You would probably also say that earthquakes and hurricanes are just down to the earth itself and weather patterns? God uses the nature he created to accomplish his will, accomplish his plan for his own glory and the glory of his son. This is from the structure of the universe to the minutest of organisms, to the hairs on your head, which are numbered.
Not much space here, so I will wrap up.
The only hope for you, indeed, the only hope for me, is the perfect and finished work of Christ, who bore the suffering, death and judgement for sin we all deserved. This sovereign Christ calls you and says if you come he will not cast you out(John 6:37). You cannot come in your own terms and dictate to God how that will be. You come, humbly, repent, and surrender the KING of KINGS as all of us who are believers have done.
You will either come before this God in your own righteousness, which God refers to as "filthy rags"(Is 64:6) and inherit the penalty due for sin on your own account, or you will appear before him dressed in the righteousness of Christ and inherit the blessing of his account(2 Cor 5:21).

Dan,

Jesus said that if we commit adultery in our hearts then we have committed adultery. I find it hard to believe there is a single man who has not at least committed adultery in his heart.

This reminds me of sin's selfishness and its imposition of costs and strain on others. Because a few steal and rob, everyone puts locks on their doors.

With both interest and sadness I note how rapidly western society is approaching the condition of Imperial Rome. Allow me to introduce some background material to explain how this is especially true in this controversy over anti-sodomy laws.

The discussion of homosexual practice and its acceptance within the ancient world remains a thorny question to scholars even today, but there is general acceptance that certain types of sexual deviance were tolerated, even accepted, by large segments of Roman society. If it was not quite as pervasive as it was in classical Greek society, sodomy nonetheless seems to have become increasingly prevalent throughout the late 1st century B.C. and into the 1st century A.D., as Rome became increasingly cosmopolitan and Hellenized.

Roman concerns about homosexuality, moreover, seem to have concerned not so much the sex of the partners involved as much as their social class. Thus, while sexual contact between a master and his slave was accepted, such activity between two freeborn males often carried the opprobrium of society.

All of this is background to this point: though laws regulating sexual practice are scarce, we do find evidence of a "Lex Scatinia" that, at the very least, regulated certain types of homosexual behavior. The text of the law itself (prob. enacted c. 149 B.C.) has been lost, but explicit references to its content remain in six surviving authors (among whom are Cicero, Juvenal, and Suetonius). There is substantial scholarly dispute as to precisely what conduct the "Lex Scatinia" forbade: some suggest it only outlawed sodomy between freeborn boys; some believe it scandalized the "passive role" in such relationships; others go so far as to suggest the law instituted a general ban on sodomy. Whatever its exact formulation, its appearance in later writers suggests that it remained "on the books" for long afterward.

A related and better-known law also deserves mention. Proposed by Augustus and enacted in 18 B.C., the "Lex Julia de Adulteriis Coercendis" was specifically intended to restrain and prosecute adultery, and as such, it dovetailed nicely with Augustus' other marriage laws (the so-called "Right of Three Children") intended to increase the birth rate of Roman citizens.

I say all of this to note that these laws would hardly have been unknown to the writers of the New Testament, particularly the Apostle Paul, who was trained in legal matters and possessed Roman citizenship. To a literate Roman citizen, these laws would likely have been well-known. Indeed, the marriage laws had engendered a fair amount of discussion from their inception throughout the reigns of later emperors, and Suetonius tells us that the Emperor Domitian (reigned 81-96 A.D.) even increased the number of prosecutions of the Lex Scatinia. And yet we also know that these laws (especially the Lex Scatinia) were more often neglected, and that even when enforced, they carried little penalty for the convicted. Much of Roman society continued to flaunt the very existence of both of these laws: a glance at Martial's epigrams, for instance, is sufficient to show the rampant disregard for these laws and yet also the remnant of shame that still attended certain sexual deviancies (i.e., they are only discussed freely in a comedic genre).

In this way, then, I find the apostles' first-century environment compellingly analogous to that of contemporary western society. I believe it is instructive that, despite numerous opportunities, the Apostle Paul never rails against the impotent civil laws that governed morality in his own time--those laws that, even in their weakened form, yet represented the common grace that God had given to even pagan governments to restrain evil. One can argue, of course, that Paul's silence on morality laws indicates merely his prioritizing of greater doctrinal matters, but this ignores how fundamentally doctrinal are even the state's morality laws. The state is itself a minister of God charged with protecting and ordering the society it governs, and part of its ministry involves defending its citizens against those evils that threaten the social order as well as the public health. How is it that we now find evangelicals effectively stripping the state of the responsibilities God has mandated?

Even graver, however, is the ignorance of Christian history that such a position reveals. For the anti-sodomy laws now being torn down derive not from the imperial court of Rome, but from the legacy of Christian influence that became ascendant under the emperor Theodosius. Indeed, the laws under Theodosius (and later under the Justinian code) mark the first time that western laws explicitly condemned a broad array of homosexual practices, and the institution of such laws reveals the extent to which Christianity had pervaded society. I am not, of course, claiming that the emperors enacted these laws out of their own Christian convictions, but simply that they recognized the power of those whose mind and conscience had been informed by Christian theology and ethics. To advance, then, the repeal of anti-sodomy laws which even today stem from these laws of the fourth century shows at the very least a profound ignorance for the legacy of Christian law, and at the most a rejection of the theology of those who supported them.

In some ways, then, the situation today is even more distressing than it was in Paul's time. Then, we might have heard from pagan Roman citizens the clamoring for the repeal of laws that were so ineffectual, so outmoded, so inconvenient. Now, we hear much the same cry; only this time it proceeds also from the ranks of the evangelical church herself, ever more forgetful of government's responsibility to restrain sin, and thus increasingly callous towards those ensnared by these besetting sins. May God grant His Church leaders that will proclaim His Gospel to the state rather than strip away its legal legacies from that state.

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